Like many players on the ATP tour, Steve Johnson is saving some of his best tennis for his latter years.
The 28-year-old won the Newport Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open on Sunday, the first times he’s won two titles in one year, adding to his Houston title during the claycourt season.
In the final he defeated first-time ATP finalist Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 for his fourth career title.
With few points to defend during the U.S. hardcourt season, Johnson has set himself up for a rise up the rankings to challenge top two Americans John Isner and the struggling Jack Sock.
“It was misting, raining for the majority of the match, but never hard enough for us to stop,” Johnson said. “I can’t believe we got it in and I’m very happy we got it in because I don’t think the radar looked overly convincing for the next couple days, either. These things have a funny way of working out, and I’m very glad it did.”
Johnson joined Roger Federer as the only two players to win titles on multiple surfaces in 2018.
The serve-and-volleying Ramanathan was the first Indian tour-level finalist since Somdev Devvarman made the Johannesburg final in 2011.
“He knows how to play in Newport,” Johnson said. “He’s very good at the net. I thought I hit a lot of good returns down at the feet and he hit some great volleys. I was just fortunate to get an early break in the third and keep the momentum.”
Ramanathan was attempting to become the first Indian ATP title winner since Leander Paes at the International Tennis Hall of Fame 20 years ago.
“It was a great week for me,” he said. “I think I gave my best all throughout the week. Steve was hitting some good forehands today. I think he played a good third set and got the better of me.”
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